The CCCA Museum: How We Got Here

by Katie Robbins

What? A CCCA Museum?

For those of you who have wondered how the Club ever got involved in a Museum, here’s the story. Dick Gold of Minnesota, a Charter Member of the Club had this vision and when he was elected to the CCCA Board of Directors in 1981 it became one of his missions. Dick was a collector of Cadillacs from the 1930s.

It was Dick’s belief that our Club needed to provide future generations with examples of the magnificent cars we call Classics: fine and distinctive automobiles built during the Classic Era, 1925-1948. He hammered away at the Board until the gang relented and the Club donated the seed money to hire a lawyer to set up by-laws and obtain a tax-exempt C3 status for a Museum. Robert Rooke of New Jersey, another board member, took on the project and got things done. With these goals in place the questions about where to build this Museum and how to fund it came up. At this time CCCA headquarters was in Madison, New Jersey and a New Jersey location seemed to make sense for either building a new structure or finding a suitable location to rent for a museum.

Not long after locations were being scouted the Club received a call from Norm Knight, long time CCCA member and curator of the Gilmore Museum, extolling the merits of a little-known museum in Michigan that housed the personal collection of Donald S. Gilmore. The collection was housed in magnificent red barns on 90 acres of land in the middle of Michigan. It was a perfect spot for the CCCA Museum and once details were worked out with the Gilmore family we set out to build our Museum on the grounds of the Gilmore Museum.

Years ago the rules were such that our Museum needed to be housed in a red barn to match the existing character of the museum grounds. Norm Knight set out to find a suitable barn to be moved to the grounds. What he found is now the inside structure of what is called the Thomas W. Barrett barn. Dick Gold never stopped working for the Museum and set out to raise money from a core group of CCCA members whose names are listed on the walls inside the Museum. We have become great friends with the children and grandchildren of Donald Gilmore and this year we celebrate that association.

Please join us at the 2013 Museum Experience which features ALL CHRYSLER VEHICLES FROM 1925 THROUGH 1965. Events begin Saturday, June 1. The Experience gathering is Sunday, June 2.